Operational meltdown will ‘certainly impact’ Southwest Airlines results: CEO

Southwest Airlines 737-800 MAX
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The US low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines chief executive (CEO) Bob Jordan has said that the operational meltdown which the airline experienced last month will ‘certainly impact’ its financial results for the final quarter of 2022. 

Southwest Airlines has not yet completed its review on how the recent operational meltdown affected the airline’s financial performance. Nevertheless, according to the carrier’s CEO, the disruption will certainly be an impact” on its Q4 results. 

“We will be issuing some information before earnings. […] obviously, it’s a significant event,” Jordan is cited as saying by Bloomberg. 

“We’ve already taken immediate actions to mitigate the risk of this ever happening again,” the CEO added. 

Over eight days of the Christmas holiday period in December 2022, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 15,000 scheduled flights. The Dallas-based air carrier has already processed three-quarters of the refund requests. However, refunds may be delayed due to the large number of travelers applying. 

What happened to Southwest Airlines during the Christmas holidays?

Southwest Airlines faced operational difficulties due to a massive winter storm in the United States during the Christmas week of 2022. The challenging weather conditions negatively affected the airline’s operational systems, overloading internal flight scheduling platforms that are crucial to match crews with the planned flights. 

The air carrier delayed or canceled thousands of flights, partly blaming the severe storm and staff shortages for disruptions. 

The massive operational halt caught the attention of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), which has said that Southwest was the only US carrier to cancel almost 3,000 flights the day after Christmas and called the disruptions ‘unacceptable’. 

Southwest Airlines will report its quarterly results on January 26, 2023. 

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